I love shopping. I don’t care if it is for myself, my kid, my husband, or for my cousin’s friend’s new baby. I love deal hunting, and shopping is a great forum for that…while staying within a budget, of course. As a result, earning points while shopping is almost second nature to me, but that was something that developed over time. This week one of the questions I received via email was about this very topic, so I want to address it here in the hopes it will help some of you newer to this concept. Grant asked:
Quick question…my wife has to do some spring/summer clothes shopping for our little girls. She shops mostly at places like Old Navy, Kohl’s, Target, etc.
I’ve read some about discounted gift cards, stacking deals, online shopping portals, store rebates etc, but am trying to figure out for in-store purchases, how to get the most bang for the buck.
Many of us are cleaning the winter items out of our kid’s closets and making way for some new summer items. Like it or not, young kids outgrow stuff pretty much every year, so it has to be replaced somehow. Grant hinted at many different ways to earn points while shopping, but it seems he is most interested in ways to do that in the store, as opposed to online. You can make this process as complicated or as simple as you want, but I’m going to stick to the simpler ways to do this.
- Buy retailer gift cards in retail stores. Currently the easiest solution for earning some points at stores like Old Navy, Kohl’s etc. is to take your handy dandy Chase Freedom card to Lowe’s Home Improvement stores and visit their gift card rack. Lowe’s is one of the 5x bonus categories for this quarter via the Freedom card, so just purchase the gift cards you think you need and earn 5x Ultimate Reward points on the purchase – up to $1,500 max this quarter. Then go spend those gift cards at stores like Gap Kids and Old Navy. If you don’t have the Freedom, you can do the same with other cards that give bonus points at certain retailers. For example, the Ink Bold® Business Card or Ink Plus® Business Card come to mind for their 5x potential via office supply stores. Many cards also give bonuses at grocery stores, which usually have a decent selection of retail gift cards.
- Buy a gift card online via online shopping portal. Another option is to buy the gift card you want online via a shopping portal. You can then use the card to shop in an actual store (or “double dip” place the order online back through the shopping portal). Here is a post on the “ins and outs” of my favorite online shopping portal. In some cases you will get up to around 10x points per dollar when going through a shopping portal like the Ultimate Rewards portal for purchasing the gift card. However, there are some nuances to this, and while it will work with some retailers, it won’t work with all. Who it works with also changes over time. Sometimes it only works with physical gift cards, but not e-gift cards. In other words, this is not an exact science. That said, you can check out The Frequent Miler’s Lab to see recent reports with various retailers on whether or not this approach will work.
- Register your credit cards to earn points in-store. This one isn’t near as useful as the first two suggestions, but it does have some use so I will include it. Certain online shopping portals, like United MileagePlus Shopping, will allow you to link your credit cards to your profile so you can earn bonus miles when shopping in participating retail stores. This sounds great, but there are a very limited number of stores that actually participate – none of which are on your list.
- Buy gift cards at a discount via a site like GiftCardGranny.com. This won’t actually help you earn points, but it will help you save money. You can buy gift cards to popular retailers such as the ones mentioned via online sites like GiftCardGranny. I personally don’t use this service, but I know some others do. I would rather buy the gift card myself and earn points than trust someone else’s re-sold gift card, but that is just me.
Grant, I hope some of these tips are useful. I know we have tons of other shoppers in our mix, so please feel free to chime in with additional tips!
Disclosure: I do receive a commission if you are approved for a credit card via my affiliate links. As always, thanks for your support!